Cardboard Firmament 2020


Registration number





Cardboard Firmament

Production date



digital print

Dimensions (H x W x D)

38.33 x 150 cm (unframed); 46.8 x 1580.5 x 4 cm (framed)

Credit line

Purchased 2021
City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection
© Courtesy of the artist


Rowan Williams, Cardboard Firmament, 2020, photography, pinhole camera, lockdown, COVID-19


In 2020, the City of Melbourne partnered with the Hero Apartment Building Owners Corporation to present a series of billboard-scale public art commissions on the facade of the iconic building in Russell Street, Melbourne. This photograph by Zan Wimberley was an entry in the public art competition and was subsequently acquired by the Art and Heritage Collection in 2021.

Artist Statement: 'At the start of lockdown, I set up a pinhole camera in my bedroom window to record the movement of the sun. Each day, the sun would burn a trace of itself into photographic paper loaded in the camera.

Lockdown produced a weird sort of 'drift' in my sense of time - so I wanted a physical record to prove that the time had actually passed, separate from my perception of it.

The photographic paper that I used expired in 1975 - there was no guarantee that anything would actually be recorded. I wanted to mirror the sense of uncertainty that threatened to
drown us all, to transform it into a creative act.

I wanted to imagine a future where change was possible, and connect the dots between despair and potential. Each day the Earth would turn and each day the paper would (potentially) record it, despite my own anxieties.

When Melbourne started to opened up again, I was humbled to find that there was indeed something written on the paper - it was a celestial love letter to time.' - Rowan Williams, 2020